29 December 2014

Gabriel's Daughter-Janet Kay Jensen Interview and Giveaway

Put on your behaved faces, everyone. Today we get to meet Janet Kay Jensen, author and woman of awesome. Her book, Gabriel's Daughter, is going to take the world by storm next month.

Now we shall put Janet through the gambit that is my 10 random questions about life, the universe, and her book.

1-What did you have for breakfast this morning? What did you wish you had had for breakfast? 

I like to have fresh fruit or a smoothie for breakfast. This morning, however? I had a piece of Praline-vanilla fudge made by the Cox Honey Company here in Cache Valley. It is heavenly fudge. And, after all, it’s two days before Christmas as I write this, so I’m entitled.

2-What is your favorite morning ritual? If appropriate. If not, please make something up.

Being greeted by Gus, my BorderBeagle, is a favorite morning ritual. He’s just so happy to see anybody, and he’s unconditional in his love and affection.  

3-What is your favorite color, and would it look good on your favorite car? 

I am drawn to blue but I’ve never had a blue car. I did rent a darling little blue Fiat and loved driving it. I’m not a car person, so that was surprising. I loved how small and compact and convenient it was, but I doubt it could hold its own in a collision.

4-When was the last time you played with Legos? Inquiring minds want to know.

I’ve quit asking Santa for the original pirate ship, because he never took me seriously. This was long before the Pirates of the Caribbean movies---it was just plain Lego fabulous. I built a lot of castles with my boys, but I’d have to say I haven’t really played with Legos for about 20 years. I want to visit LegoLand again, though! Those creations are amazing. Creativity at its best.

5-Since it is the holidays, do you have any fun, holiday traditions that you love?

We have a Christmas Eve family party at our home and we always play Balderdash. Last year, even the Finns participated. Their English was quite good. I’m not so sure about playing it this year, as we will have a guest from Mexico who doesn’t speak English….I think we’ll have to pull out a few of the nonverbal games.

6-Name three of your favorite books. Just to see if you like to read fluffy or not so fluffy stories.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Ethan Frome, A Separate Peace

7-Your book deals with some heavy topics, what draws you to them? Why not unicorns and glitter?

Others do unicorns and glitter so well. Hmm. I really don’t know why I’ve felt drawn to serious topics. It’s a challenge to write realistic characters who struggle with real problems, but I also like to toss in a bit of humor.

8-Polygomy is a hot topic right now. Let’s say you’re a sister wife or whatever. In your mind, what is the biggest advantage and disadvantage to it?

Sister wives say they share the responsibilities, so I would assume I wouldn’t be head cook….I don’t think there would be any privacy in these large families. And I wouldn’t be good at sharing a husband. On the other hand, some plural wives say putting up with a husband once a week is quite enough. Frankly, I think the other wives would probably vote me out of the compound.

9-What is it about your book that you love? What drew you to write it? (This is the part where you dazzle us with the awesomeness that is your story) Feel free to go on and on. How did you come to write this particular book or series?

Long after high school, I became aware that one of my classmates had been raised in a polygamous family. I never knew this about him in high school; he was a handsome, serious, quiet student. Years later, I saw him interviewed on television, and his family was featured several times in newspaper articles.
Then my husband and I drove through Hilldale, Utah, a polygamous community, and although the red dirt roads were empty we knew people were watching us from behind their curtains. We could feel the hostility they have toward nosy outsiders, and a few little children dashed into their houses when they saw us. The cemetery had its own stories to tell, and those stayed with me.

I began to do a lot of research and I read a number of books about polygamy, both fiction and nonfiction.Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys was published first; Gabriel’s Daughters is the stand-alone second. Zina’s story was originally included in early drafts of Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys. I began to write the stories of both Louisa and Zina in alternating chapters. That led to logistical problems as the events occur in different time periods. Zina’s story also began to take on greater significance and in fact threatened to take over the whole book. To do it justice, I had to pull it out and promise Zina her own book. She was very patient. Gabriel’s Daughters is her story.

There may be a third book sometime in the future. Louisa, Zina and Amy haven’t told all of their stories. We shall see.

10-What character in your book would you most like to have over to dinner and why? 

Miss Lily Carolina Bates. She hails from Kentucky and is a Healer. She also talks to bees, rides a mule named Harold, gathers yarbs and other natural remedies in the forest, and is very wise. I’d ask her to fix some of her squash soup for me and then I’d listen to her tales of Johnny Appleseed (he was real) and Dumb Suppers.

If you would like to stalk Janet, please try these avenues:




Here is a giveaway to go along with the release of Gabriel's Daughter. Don't be that person who missed it
a Rafflecopter giveaway

16 December 2014

Things that Make Me Grinchy

Last night I went to my niece’s Christmas Choir concert. She’s a junior in high school. The concerts are usually pretty packed, and last night was no exception. We ended up sitting close to the front. With only a few rows in ahead of us, I figured I would at least not have to endure someone playing on their phone or tablet the entire time.

Which happens way more often than it should. And all too often it is the adults that do it.

I mean really, this is a concert. A classical concert. Put the electronic devices away people. Surely you can sit and listen quietly for an hour.

This is apparently too much to ask.

First we had a teenage couple sit two rows in front of us who waved at whomever they knew on stage for two songs straight. Desperately trying to either get the attention of their friend of embarrass them.

They left. Thankfully.

Then worse came. Four teenagers who I’m pretty sure either never learned manners or completely ignored the lessons their parents tried to teach them. Their behavior was so bad that I’m suspecting it is the first.

Three boys and one girl. They whispered through three songs. They too tried to get the attention of those on stage through waving and whistling. They texted one another as they were sitting there. They laughed. They giggled (let’s point out the fact that they were at the front, under the microphones, and the concert was being recorded) and even entertained those of us behind them with some very Lady Gaga like dance moves. They crawled over one another. I’m not sure any of their butts stayed in their seats for more than fifteen seconds at a time.

I could tell my sister wanted to drag them out by their ears. I would have helped. But we both refrained. Because it’s rude to get out of your seat or talk during songs at a classical concert.

For crying out loud, my 10 year old nephew can sit quietly through a concert without needing an electronic device. Usually he just listens. He might not want to, but he can do it, and his mother has made it very clear that this is the expectation.

The only part of me that defends people who act inappropriately in situations like this is the fact that they at least came to support their friend.

Either that or they had to come for a class in school. I try not to think about that option. It makes me craky.

Lucky for them and me, they left after a few songs and allowed the rest of us to enjoy the end of the concert, which included both the choir and the orchestra. So my Christmas spirit got the chance to bounce back.

Sometimes I curse my mother for teaching me manners.

01 December 2014

The Leap from Book 1 to Book 2 for Readers

The Leap from Book 1 to Book 2

I’m not here to talk about the difficulties of writing a book 2. I already ranted about that like ten times. No, I’m here to chat about reading sequels.

I’ll be totally honest, the only sequels I’ve read in the past five or six years have been from the Monster Hunter International series and The Hunger Games.

Last night I finished reading the book Cinder—Cinderella is a cyborg, a mechanic and much, much more. It was a great story. Very cool. I really liked it.

My hubby looked at the book on the table and asked when I was going to read the second one.

I mentally shrugged. I hadn’t thought about actually reading the second one. Like I said, it was a good book, the ending wasn’t a cliffhanger, but it led directly into the next one. I’m interested, just not enough to go out and buy or borrow book 2.

Since then, I’ve been wondering why. Why don’t I ever go on?

I’ll make a list, because I like making lists.

1-Volume. I write YA, therefore I need to read a lot of YA. Almost all YA books are part of a series these days, which is somewhat annoying. On the other hand, if you love, love the first book, then of course as a reader you want more. But I have a mountain of YA books waiting to be cracked open. I figure once I’ve read the first one in a series, that I get the gist of how the author writes and plots and presents their ideas. Time to move on.

2-Time. This pesky time thing is irritating, at the very least. There are only 24 hours in a day, and so many hours in a week and I work some of those and I have some devoted to writing and I have to entertain my hubby or he gets really weird and frightens the neighbors and if I don’t work-out not only do I get more chubby but I get grouchy and I do better when I go to a class and someone tells me what to do rather than self-motivating myself, I have a church calling that takes out one evening a week with awesomeness…so you see, there’s a lot going on. If I don’t adore a book, I won’t read the next one. Even if I thought it was great. Adore is different than great.

3-Interest. I like stories in all their forms, and if I’ve already guessed the end of the series before I’m finished with the first half of the first book, then why go on? YA is intricate, but it often relies on tropes that don’t get old as much as they get to be stale. Maybe that’s the same thing. However, I use tropes in my books—teenagers haven’t been introduced to all of the tropes, so this is totally fine. If my interest isn’t piqued, then I’ll move on to something else.

4-The Feel. This goes toward all of those dang dystopian books. If the feeling in the first book is dark, dank, dreary and morbid, then I probably won’t go on to the rest of the series. I like good endings. They don’t have to be perfect, but there needs to be something to smile about. If I’m not liking the feel of the book/series, then it’s kind of dead to me.

That’s my 2 cents worth.

What about you? Do you read a whole series? Why or why not?